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Category: Main courses

Moroccan lamb tagine with melting tomatoes and onions

Moroccan lamb tagine with melting tomatoes and onions
Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

I don't think I've ever met a clay cooking pot I didn't like . . . or want to own. And I have more than 100 clay pots of every size in my kitchen to prove it: Moroccan tagines, Provencal ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours and 45 minutes | Serves 4 to 6
Note: Adapted from "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking" by Paula Wolfert. She recommends a glazed earthenware or Flameware tagine, or a 10- or 11-inch Spanish cazuela with a cover. She also recommends using a heat diffuser for slow, steady cooking (especially if using an electric or ceramic stove top). The flour tortillas are a substitution for Moroccan flatbread. Cubeb pepper can be ordered online.
  • 2 1/2 pounds thick bone-in lamb shoulder arm chops
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup hot water, plus warm water for rehydrating the raisins
  • 3 large red onions, 1 grated, and 2 thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Moroccan spice mixture
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cubeb berries or cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 3-inch Ceylon cinnamon stick, lightly crushed (often sold as Mexican cinnamon)
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons mild olive oil, divided
  • 6 plum tomatoes, preferably Roma, peeled, quartered lengthwise and seeded
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Step 1Trim any excess fat from the lamb. Cut the chops into 1 1/2 -inch chunks with the bones.

Step 2Soak the raisins in warm water for 15 minutes to rehydrate them.

Step 3Meanwhile, place the lamb, grated onion, Moroccan spice mixture, cubeb berries or cayenne, saffron, cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon salt, butter and half the oil in the tagine. Place on a heat diffuser if possible, uncovered, over low heat until the aroma of the spices is released, about 10 minutes. Do not brown the meat. Add the half-cup hot water and gently increase the heat to slowly bring it to a boil.

Step 4Drain the raisins. Cover the meat mixture with the onion slices and raisins and spread the tomatoes, cut side down, on top. Cover the tagine, reduce the heat to low and cook until the lamb is tender, about 2 hours.

Step 5When the lamb is almost ready, set an oven rack on the middle shelf of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 6Remove the top of the tagine and tilt the pot to pour all the liquid into a medium conventional skillet. Skim the fat off the top of the liquid; then boil it down to three-fourths cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the reduced juices over the tomatoes in the tagine. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Scatter the sugar and ground cinnamon on top. Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Switch the oven heat to broil, dribble over the remaining oil, and cook until crusty and lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Serve at once or reheat gently over medium heat.

Step 7Just before serving, warm the tortillas, tear them into large pieces, and spread about one-third over a large serving platter. Spoon about half the contents of the tagine on top. Repeat with another third of the tortillas and the remaining contents of the tagine. Top with the last of the tortillas and a sprinkling of parsley and serve at once.

Each of 6 servings:
599 calories; 34 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 33 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 114 mg. cholesterol; 13 grams sugar; 778 mg. sodium.
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